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Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Pharaohs clash with Burkina Faso in Afcon semifinal tonight

The Pharaohs’ bid for an eighth Africa Cup of Nations crown continues tonight as Egypt goes head to head with Burkina Faso in a semifinal match. The two so-far undefeated teams will clash starting at 9pm CLT; Burkina Faso will have an extra 24 hours of rest over Egypt at the kickoff. BBC Sport has a pregame preview, as does ESPN. Ahram Online reminds us that while the Pharaohs “will have to do without a number of regulars as they battle more injuries, with lone striker Marwan Mohsen becoming the latest casualty … The Pharaohs met Burkina Faso at the same stage 19 years ago, claiming a 2-0 win thanks to a brace from their all-time leading scorer Hossam Hassan.”

Goalkeeper Essam El Hadary has yet to concede a single goal — and is capturing the imagination of the global sports press. The Associated Press notes that 44 year-old El Hadary, the oldest player to ever compete in the AFCON, is “the only survivor of the team’s former success” and their main source of inspiration, having been there in 1998, when Egypt beat Burkina Faso in the semis. “This is my role, to always tell them stories about our success, our past success, and how we managed to do it,” he said.

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